INSECURITY

Non-local teachers in Garissa seek transfer to safer areas

In Summary

• Most of those seeking transfers are from schools in Fafi, Holugho, Ijara and Dadaab subcounties. 

• The withdrawn teachers will be redeployed to the three subcounties of Garissa, Lagdera and Balambala ‘which are safe’.

Ann Gedion, one of teachers who were spared by al Shabaab militants during Monday terror attack in Kamuthe. Three non-local teachers were killed in the attack
NOT SAFE: Ann Gedion, one of teachers who were spared by al Shabaab militants during Monday terror attack in Kamuthe. Three non-local teachers were killed in the attack
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Hundreds of non-local teachers from four subcounties in Garissa have since Monday been flocking the county TSC offices seeking to be transferred to safer areas.

Most of those seeking transfers are from schools in Fafi, Holugho, Ijara and Dadaab subcounties. 

This followed Monday's terror attack and killing of three non-local teachers by al Shabaab militants in Kamethu. The teachers killed in the 2am attack were Caleb Mutua, 28, Titus Mushindi, 29, and Samwel Mutua, 29. 

After the attack, the Garissa county education board immediately withdrew non-local teachers from the four subcounties and ordered them to report to TSC offices in Garissa town for further instruction. They are being redeployed to Garissa, Lagdera and Balambala, 'which are safer'.

On Sunday last week, militants shot and killed four pupils at Saretho Boarding Primary School. In both incidences – Kamethu and Saretho – the militants destroyed Safaricom masts.

One of the affected teachers told the Star, "It will be near impossible to work in Garissa county. The environment is the same and according to us nowhere is safe for a non-local teacher." 

“Nobody can convince me to work in Garissa county. The militants killed the four pupils in Saretho by mistake. They were targeting non-local teachers that pupils spent the night but the unfortunate happened,” the teacher who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation added.

Another teacher, who also requested anonymity, said they were earlier convinced that security had been restored in the region and that is why they agreed to go and teach in the region.

“The insecurity that we witnessed in 2014, is slowly taking shape and it will be impossible for non-local teachers to work in this area,” she said.

 “Teaching requires concentration and personal attachment to the students. When you know at the back of your mind that you are a walking target, then your concentration is blurred and you cannot deliver.” 

But speaking on the phone, county director of education Issack Khalif said the education board decided to withdraw non-local teachers after consultation with the TSC headquarters in Nairobi.

He said it was agreed that the withdrawn teachers be redeployed to the three subcounties of Garissa, Lagdera and Balambala ‘which are safe’.

Khalif said the affected teachers were employed by the TSC and signed a contract to work in Garissa county for between three and five years, and they cannot be transferred outside the county as they are demanding.

“As much as we empathise with them, the contract is not only binding but the three subcounties we are deploying them are safe,” Khalif said.

“We understand their plight and that is why we immediately withdrew them. They should feel safe and continue to offer their services in these subcounties.”

Khalif also said that learning has not stopped in all the schools in Fafi, Ijara, Hulugho and Dadaab subcounties, except for Saretho and Kamuthe that were closed after the terror attacks.

He said respective BoGs and PTAs at the schools have been instructed to recruit locals to fill in the positions left by the withdrawn teachers and ensure that learning continues undisrupted.